Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. has been voted American League Pitcher of the Month for May, and Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Alex Wood has been voted National League Pitcher of the Month for the second month of the 2017 season.McCullers compiled a 4-0 record with a 0.99
Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. has been voted American League Pitcher of the Month for May, and Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Alex Wood has been voted National League Pitcher of the Month for the second month of the 2017 season.
McCullers compiled a 4-0 record with a 0.99 ERA and 37 strikeouts over 36.1 innings pitched in six starts to earn his first career AL Pitcher of the Month Award. Among all Major League starters in May, McCullers recorded the lowest ERA, surrendering just four earned runs on 21 hits and 10 walks. Lance finished the period tied for second in wins, third in strikeouts and fifth in innings pitched among AL hurlers. This is Houston's second consecutive AL Pitcher of the Month Award, following Lance's teammate Dallas Keuchel. The last time two pitchers from the same club in the AL were awarded monthly honors for April and May was 2012, when Jake Peavy (April) and Chris Sale (May) took home consecutive monthly honors for the Chicago White Sox.
On May 23rd against the Detroit Tigers, McCullers, who is the son of former Major Leaguer Lance McCullers, logged 5.0 innings of shutout ball, limiting Detroit hitters to just one hit and one walk. The performance concluded a streak of four starts and 24.0 shutout innings pitched, the longest innings streak by a Major League pitcher this season. In Lance's final start of the month on Sunday afternoon against the Baltimore Orioles at Minute Maid Park, the 23-year-old right-hander tossed 6.0 innings, yielding three runs (two earned) with eight strikeouts and two walks. With the outing, McCullers improved to 6-1 on the season and won his fourth straight decision. The Tampa, Florida native has now allowed no more than three runs in each of his 26 career home starts. The streak is the fourth-longest in Major League history and the longest in AL history. Clayton Kershaw holds the all-time mark of 30 consecutive such starts at Dodger Stadium from June 5, 2013 through June 6, 2015.
In addition, the streak of 26 straight starts at home without allowing more than three earned runs is the longest in Major League history by any pitcher to start his career. Entering play today, the Astros pace the AL in a host of pitching categories, including ERA (3.49), strikeouts (537), WHIP (1.20), opponents' batting average (.230) and saves (18). Propelled by its dominant pitching staff, Houston owns the best record in the Majors with a mark of 38-16 (.704) and lead the AL West by 11.5 games. Detroit's Michael Fulmer (3-2 2.19 ERA, 1 CG, 37.0 IP) also received votes for AL Pitcher of the Month. The 2016 AL Rookie of the Year logged 7.0-or-more innings in each start during his excellent month, and has delivered a quality start in each start this season. With his 10th consecutive quality start on May 27th against the Chicago White Sox, Fulmer matched teammate Justin Verlander (March 31 - May 19, 2011) for the longest streak of quality starts by a Tigers pitcher to begin a season since 1913.
Others receiving votes for AL Pitcher of the Month included Chris Sale (5-0, 4.24 ERA, 40.1 IP, 58 SO) of the Boston Red Sox and his teammate, AL Reliever of the Month Craig Kimbrel (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 7 SV, 25 SO).
In five starts, Wood recorded a 5-0 record with a 1.27 ERA and an impressive 41:7 strikeout-towalk ratio across 28.1 innings pitched in en route to claiming his first career monthly award. Alex is the first Dodgers pitcher to be awarded NL Pitcher of the Month since teammate Clayton Kershaw last May. Among qualified NL starters, Wood finished his impressive month first in wins and ERA. Alex allowed just 22 hits and did not surrender a home run.
Earlier this month, Wood, who also claimed NL Player of the Week honors for the period ending May 15th, joined Andy Benes (2000) and Jon Lester (2010) as the only pitchers since 1893 to win consecutive starts while striking out at least 10 batters in each start despite pitching no more than 6.0 innings in either outing. In those two starts, a May 8th tilt against the Pittsburgh Pirates and a May 13th contest against the Colorado Rockies, Wood posted consecutive games with more than 10 strikeouts for the first time in his five-year Major League career.
On May 26th against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium, Wood fired 5.0 shutout innings, permitting two hits with eight strikeouts and two walks. The outing capped off his award-winning month with his fifth consecutive victory in as many decisions, extending his career-high win streak to six games. The 26-year-old lefty enters play today in the midst of a four-start scoreless streak, dating back to his May 8th start against the Pirates, which includes 23.1 scoreless innings. Through the first two months of the season, the University of Georgia product is the only NL starter to have posted four consecutive starts without allowing an earned run.
Houston's AL Pitcher of the Month, McCullers, is the only other starter in the Majors to accomplish the feat. Entering play today, Los Angeles pitchers pace the Senior Circuit in ERA (3.19) and WHIP (1.16); are tied for the league-lead in opponents' batting average (.232); and trail only the Arizona Diamondbacks (518) in strikeouts with 513 punchouts. Led in large part by their outstanding pitching, the Dodgers own a 33-22 record (.600) and trail the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks by a half-game in the very competitive NL West.
Others receiving votes for NL Pitcher of the Month included Alex's aforementioned teammate Kershaw (3-1, 2.43 ERA, 40.2 IP, 39 SO); Max Scherzer (3-1, 2.27 ERA, 43.2 IP, 60 SO) and Stephen Strasburg (4-0, 2.78 ERA, 32.1 IP, 43 SO) of the Washington Nationals; Zack Greinke (4-1, 3.28 ERA, 35.2 IP, 44 SO) and Robbie Ray (3-2, 2.56 ERA, 1 CG, 1 SHO) of the D-backs; Carlos Martínez (4-1, 2.03 ERA, 44.1 IP, 41 SO) of the St. Louis Cardinals; and NL Reliever of the Month Greg Holland (1.17 ERA, 8 SV, 7.2 IP, 15 SO) of the Rockies.
In recognition of their Pitcher of the Month Awards, Lance McCullers and Alex Wood will each receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, for their accomplishments.